Hong Kong Hiking Escapes

Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve
By Katharine Fletcher & Eric Fletcher
  |  Gorp.com
A lizard takes in the afternoon heat.

East of Mai Po, the 460-hectare (1,136-acre) Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve is a subtropical forest full of trails to explore. The reserve was logged by the villagers for timber and fuel, as well as harvested for medicinal plants, but now is a fine example of postwar reforestation.

Our Mai Po guide, Samson So, bird-watcher extraordinaire, accompanied us and identified many species, which he recognized by their songs. We glimpsed brand new life-list species, such as the scarlet minivet, black-winged cuckoo-shrike, scarlet-backed flowerpecker, common tailorbird, silver-eared mesia, and pekin robin.

We ambled uphill, down dale, across streams — all the while walking extremely slowly so as to see and hear as many birds as possible. The walk took us three hours, but depending upon your speed and the trail network you select, you could explore the reserve more thoroughly than we did. And although we didn't see them, creatures like the crested tree lizard, five-striped blue-tailed skink, and the red-necked keelback snake are relatively common.

Trip Tips

September is also a good time for birds due to the autumn migration, but April is full of blossoms and burgeoning life. Spring nest-building and feeding of young keeps birds extremely active and rewards the quiet bird-watcher with superb sightings.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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